Daily Fantasy Golf Preview: Rocket Mortgage Classic

Cheat Sheet

The Course

  • Detroit Golf Club (North Course)
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Par 72
  • 7,334 yards
    • Donald Ross design that opened in 1916, recieved a Robert Trent Jones Sr. revamp in 1953, and recently got a facelift in preparation for this tournament
    • Debut event — so there is no course history
    • Poa annua greens (Bluegrass)
    • Holes 14, 15, & 16 have been coined “Area 313” (Detroit’s area code) where players will look to go eagle-ace-birdie (3-1-3) on a 555 yard par 5, 160 yard par 3, and 446 yard par 4
    • Good mix of both short and long holes for all of the par 3’s, par 4’s, and even the par 5’s
    • Tight, tree-lined course with a few bunkers on each hole and water only on hole #14
    • The 3rd hole is actually part of the South Course & the normal 8th hole for the Detroit Golf Club will be the 1st hole for the tournament this week (other tee boxes were also moved to increase the distance)
    • The rough was grown out to approximately 3.5 inches
    • Multi-tiered and undulating greens will be one of this course’s main defenses from low numbers
    • Right now the weather looks like it will be in the upper-80’s with light wind and possible thunderstorms Friday and Saturday

Key Stats

  • Birdie or better %
  • Bogey avoidance
  • SG: tee-to-green
    • SG: approaching-the-green
  • GIR
  • Par 5 scoring
  • Par 4 scoring

Usually my key stats are based off of course correlations but since this is the first time the Tour is playing in Detroit the stats I’m looking at are based off of the average course results.

The Field

This week will be one of the weaker fields that we have seen in a while but will still feature some notable names such as Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, last week’s champ Chez Reavie, and the newest major winner Gary Woodland. Unfortunately, we might be plagued with weaker fields moving forward until the Open in mid-July with many pros heading overseas early to play some rounds and get used to the time zone.

Big Dogs ($9,000 and up on DK)

Solid (Cash)

    • Dustin Johnson ($12,000 DK – $12,500 FD) – in such a top-heavy field I find it hard to believe that many people will start their lineups without taking one of the top 4 guys (DJ, Rickie, Woodland, & Hideki). DJ finds the top 10 at a much higher clip than anyone else in this field (he has 12 in his last 21 events since last August) so he looks like the the safest pick and the most likely to win. My model has him at roughly 20% more likely to finish inside the top 10 then the next closest golfer, I’m assuming most people will see his odds and DJ will end up being a popular pick this week.
    • Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200 DK – $11,300 FD) – the lowest priced out of the top 4 guys is Hideki and he’s been slightly more consistent than Woodland and Rickie as of late; so for the discount and his seemingly higher floor I think he will be one of the highest owned golfers this week. He hasn’t finished worse than 33rd in an event since the Sony Open back in January and he’s played in 12 tournaments in that time. I like all of the top 4 guys this week but I’m anticipating that they’re all going to be highly owned so for Cash lineups I’m going with the two that I believe to be safer picks.

Risky (GPP)

    • Ryan Moore ($9,500 DK – $10,200 FD) – these next two picks are based off my theory that the golfers over $10,000 are going to be chalky this week. After taking one guy from the top, many people won’t have the cap space to take someone in the $9,000 dollar range so those golfers could be good contrarian plays. Moore was 33rd at the Memorial; and that was after shooting +3 in both the second and third rounds, and at the Travelers Championship last week he finished 15th; again shooting a disappointing +2 in the third round. If he can avoid the bad round and keep posting low numbers he should have a shot at winning. (It’s looking like he may be somewhat popular because of the success he has had on Donald Ross designed courses so a pivot to someone like Patrick Reed might not be a bad idea).
    • Billy Horschel ($9,000 DK – $10,400 FD) – Horschel has made six straight cuts coming into the Rocket Mortgage and that includes a 23rd at the PGA Championship, a 19th at the Charles Schwab, and a 9th place finish at the Memorial. His consistency lately, and where he’s priced at, makes him a candidate for not only GPP’s but Cash lineups as well. If it seems like people are going to be going for more balanced lineups this week then a pivot up to someone like Brandt Snedeker might not be a smart play… I don’t see too many people wanting to pay $9,900 for him.

Value ($7,400 – $8,900 on DK)

Solid (Cash)

    • Kevin Streelman ($8,600 DK – $9,500 FD) – Streelman continues to roll with a T15 last week at the Travelers. Out of his last 24 rounds, dating all the way back to the Valero Texas Open, Kevin has only shot over par in 2 out of those 24 total rounds. He’s also in a spot in the pricing where there shouldn’t be a crazy amount of ownership (especially compared to previous weeks) and there is talent around him too so I’m guessing his ownership might stay lower than it typically would in a weak field.
    • Rory Sabbatini ($8,500 DK – $9,400 FD) – Sabbatini is in a similar boat to Streelman above, in his last 6 events (24 rounds) he has shot over par only 6 times and his worst finish in that time was a 43rd place at the U.S. Open… he also has three top 10 finishes in that time. Him and Streelman have been so good lately that it’s hard to pass them up in Cash lineups but they could also be good GPP plays considering that many people might go stars-and-scrubs this week.
    • Peter Malnati ($7,500 DK – $8,500 FD) – Malnati made the jump from my Solid-Dark Horse category to a spot in the Solid-Value options… which kind of scares me quite frankly. But I’m sticking by it because he’s earned the praise showing that he can be a steady cut maker, which will be huge this week when even guys in the $8,000’s and $9,000’s look somewhat questionable. Peter finished T30 last week and has now finished 40th or better in 7 out of his last 10 events.

Risky (GPP)

    • Sungjae Im ($8,800 DK – $10,300 FD) – Im finished 21st last week and 7th two weeks prior to build off of the momentum he so desperately needed after missing three straight cuts in mid-May. The thing is, with Niemann golfing better and coming off of a 5th place finish and only being $100 more and the likes of Streelman, Sabbatini, and Hovland right beneath him, I think Sungjae doesn’t get many looks this week which would make him an interesting play in larger pools.
    • Aaron Wise ($8,200 DK – $9,400 FD) – Wise missed back-to-back cuts before finishing 35th at the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach several weeks ago. His mediocre finishes lately might have people turned off this week but he is 18th in SG: off-the-tee, 49th in SG: tee-to-green, and 11th in birdie or better percentage so at a narrow course where the winning score might approach -20, I like guys that can consistently gain strokes off the tee and have an easier time racking up birdies — which Wise certainly fits that build.
    • Byeong Hun An ($7,900 DK – $9,900 FD) – An is coming off of a missed cut last week at the Travelers (where he lost 2.686 strokes putting per round) but before that he had two straight top 20’s. He’s in a weird spot because I see the $7,000’s getting a lot of ownership this week so he could be popular, which would make him a more attract Cash play, but he’s so talented that it’s almost worth it regardless to take him in such a weak field for only $7,900.

Sleepers ($7,300 and under on DK)

Solid (Cash)

    • Roberto Diaz ($7,200 DK – $8,400 FD) – Roberto Diaz hasn’t set the world on fire but he has made eight out of his last ten cuts and is coming off of an 8th place finish last week at the Travelers. Another promising sign is that he’s shown the ability to stay hot earlier this year when he followed up an 18th place finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a 10th place finish at his very next event, the Puerto Rico Open.
    • Stephen Jaeger ($7,100 DK – $8,100 FD) – Jaeger has been doing some of his best golf in the last several weeks with three straight finishes of 30th or better: at the Byron Nelson (17th), Canadian Open (14th), and last week at the Travelers (30th). Stephen hasn’t shot worse than +1 in any round during that time so hopefully he can keep that up going forward, which would make him a pretty good bid at only $7,100.
    • Troy Merritt ($7,000 DK – $8,400 FD) – Merritt finished even par at the end of the first round last week and posted a -5 to make the cut by 3 strokes. He then proceeded to shot +5 the next day to end up with an MDF. In his last 4 events he has played 13 total rounds and he’s shot -3 or better in 5 of those rounds (with one round of -5 and two rounds of -6). If he can limit the blow ups and string some of those quality golf rounds together, he’ll definitely flirt with some more top 10’s.
    • Hank Lebioda ($6,900 DK – $8,000 FD) – Lebioda didn’t follow up his 14th place at the Canadian with another great finish at the Travelers but he did make the cut and was -6 heading into the weekend before shooting +4 in the third round. This year he is 45th in SG: tee-to-green, which allows him to to get to the green in regulation just over 68% of the time (40th), and that allows him to do some scoring (34th in birdie or better). The lowest his GIR has been in a tournament this year has been 61% so for only $6,900 he seems like a very safe pick compared to most guys sub-$7,000.

Risky (GPP)

    • Sebastian Munoz ($7,000 DK – $8,200 FD) – Munoz missed the cut last week at the Travelers but before that he finished 11th at the Canadian Open and 10th at the Byron Nelson in his two prior events. He needed to birdie one of his last two holes on Friday to make the cut last week but finished triple bogey-par to miss the cut. The lowest his GIR has been in his last four events has been 68% and he’s 14th in SG: around-the-green this season so he seems to be ball striking and chipping well enough to put himself in a position to make the cut and possibly even top 20 yet again.
    • Cameron Tringale ($7,000 DK – $7,900 FD) – Tringale was an MDF last week at the Travelers when he shot +5 in the third round after starting -5 through the first two. That snapped a streak of 10 straight rounds under par for Cameron. This season he is 39th in both GIR and SG: approaching-the-green which will be important on the Donald Ross designed Detroit Golf Club where you won’t want to see your golfers having to scramble into these greens to save par.
    • Jonas Blixt ($6,800 DK – $7,800 FD) – Blixt was in the hunt to make the cut last week at the Travelers but finished the last four holes at +3 to put the nail in the coffin. Before the Travelers Championship, Blixt had made three straight cuts including a 20th at the Byron Nelson and a 5th at the Charles Schwab. I was on him last week and I’m not going to let the missed cut discourage me especially because I think good lag-putters have an advantage on these greens, where Jonas is 17th in 3 putt avoidance this year.

Dark Horses

Risky (GPP)

    • Sam Burns ($7,100 DK – $8,000 FD) – I’m not sure what to do with Burns this week so I decided to stick him in the stables with the rest of the Dark Horses. He’s had two WD’s due to an ailing lower back since the Wells Fargo back in May but has 6 finishes out of his last 10 starts at 31st place or better (and 2 of those 10 tournaments were the WD’s). Even though Burns seems to be slightly underpriced I don’t like to play golfers who are dealing with an injury in any Cash lineups… but if most people avoid him then he could end up being an interesting GPP play.
    • Sam Ryder ($6,600 DK – $8,000 FD) – back at the Heritage Sam Ryder withdrew almost immediately after teeing off due to a wrist injury and took several weeks off. After coming back he has had a 57th place finish at the Memorial and a 51st place finish at the Travelers last week. In those two tournaments he was a combined -10 through the first two rounds of each and a combined +10 on the second two rounds, if he can manage to finish a tournament the way he starts then he will end up near the top of the leaderboard (but if he starts a tournament the way he has been finishing, he will most certainly miss the cut.
    • Adam Schenk ($6,600 DK – $7,400 FD) – Schenk has now missed three out of his last five cuts with his best finish in that time being a 56th at the Canadian Open. I’m assuming most people will look past him this week but he’s a similar player to Ryder (good irons & good putter) so I like both of their fits for this course, and on top of that, both golfers seem to be more talented than anyone else in this price range.
    • Talor Gooch ($?,??? DK – $?,??? FD) – Gooch was a late add to this field as of Tuesday so I’m not sure what his price will be but he’s been an excellent iron player and scorer this year so assuming it’s not too high — I like him this week. Also, he hasn’t played much on Tour lately but two of his last three finishes were at 35th place or better.


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Mark Lee

Written by 

Detroit sports fan, also sufferer of seasonal depression (the two might be related). Avid golfer and former college baseball player. Would've been in the league if it weren't for my lack of ability. Accountant by day, fantasy sports guru by night.